Silk and Shadows

By: Lauren Landish


I head over to the table, keeping an eye on the main entrance as I pull out my own work, setting up my laptop and opening the textbook I’m reading from. But though my eyes scan, I’m not really seeing the words on the pages. Instead, I’m fuming.

I’m not too surprised that he’s late. I figure the entitled ass probably lives by his own clock, not even bothering to give lame excuses but rather assuming everyone will wait on him. Ironically, considering where I’m currently sitting, he wouldn’t be wrong in that assumption.

With a sigh, I force my eyes to focus on my own studies and make some good headway, making notes on the entire third chapter of my World History textbook. I do a bit of color coding and formatting so that it’s an easier study later and save my progress.

Time seems to have flown by because when I look at the clock, I realize it’s well after six. I’ve seriously waited for this ass for over an hour and he’s still a no-show?

This is bullshit, I fume to myself, wondering how I let Erica talk me into this. I shut down my computer and shove it and my book back into my bag. “I should’ve known,” I mutter quietly. Though whispered, my voice takes on a sarcastic edge, the one Liam says can slice and dice an ego at one hundred paces. “Asshole desperately needs help but can’t be bothered to actually show up to get it. Fuck that self-entitled prick. He can fail for all I care.”

Suddenly, a deep chuckle right behind me interrupts my rant. It’s a guy’s voice, his faux-supportive anger mimicking me. “Yeah, fuck that self-entitled prick!”





Chapter 2





Zach





I was told I was meeting a redhead, and when I heard her grumbling about a self-entitled prick, I knew I’d found her. At my statement, she turns around, fire flashing in her eyes. When I said it, I was just seeing if I could get under the skin of the sexy little wood sprite I’d been checking out as I walked across the library, only to discover her griping about me. I was curious to hear her response.

Well, that and I fully expect her to pull a 180 and grovel at my feet like most girls do. Hell, like everyone does. I don’t ask for it. It’s just what happens.

But I’m surprised she’s not relenting. She’s glaring daggers, even more so now that she recognizes me. Oh, yeah, I can tell she does. Usually, that makes girls go stupid and soft, simpering into puddles at my feet. But not this one. I offer one of my panty-melting smiles, but she scowls fiercely, her baby blues filled to the brim with attitude.

She looks cute as fuck when she’s mad. All fiery hair and fair skin, with a few freckles sprinkled across her cheekbones. She’s small enough that I could easily pick her up, but she puts off an aura of anger I haven’t seen in some of my defensive linemen. She’s frighteningly intimidating for such a pretty little thing. The contrast is interesting.

I offer her a hand. “I’m Zach Knight. But I guess you can call me self-entitled prick, if you prefer.” I’m joking, not really apologizing but acknowledging in a slightly self-deprecating way that I’m late. It should be enough to soothe her ruffled feathers.

But no. She doesn’t flinch under my gaze, the steel in her spine obvious as she takes my hand for a quick shake. “Norma Jean Blackstone. I’m afraid our session was scheduled for five to six, though, so you’ve missed your opportunity today. Perhaps we can schedule for tomorrow and you can be on time?” Her voice is saccharin sweet, but the barbs are clear as she tilts her head, looking at me expectantly.

A grin forms on the corners of my lips at her refusal to back down and I cross my arms over my chest to resist grabbing a lock of her red hair. My wide stance blocks her from moving around the table to leave. I think the challenge in my stare has something to do with her staying too. Goddamn. She has bigger balls than some of the guys on the team. I’m either going to kill her or fuck her . . . and I know which I’d prefer.

At my lack of response, she puts her hands on her hips. I’m sure she thinks she looks menacing, but she looks sexy to me. Like a nerdy nymph. She’s waiting for my reaction, certain she’s won this round, but I’m just getting started. I get the feeling she is too.

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